When there’s a nation-wide lockdown, it sometimes becomes important to know better. Mike Krieger and Kevin Systron, founders of Instagram have brought us an effective method to dig deeper into the COVID-19 crisis. 

Systron tells us, “Without knowing Rt, we are simply flying blind.” The question remains: what exactly is Rt?

Simply said, Rt is the measure of the number of people infected by a COVID-infected person. It helps us understand the spread of the virus better in a given place. If the Rt of a given place is above 1.0, the virus is likely to spread rapidly. Anything under 1.0 suggests that the spread can be stopped in that place. 

Instagram founders launch website to track the spread of Covid-19

Epidemiologists suggest that a better estimate of Rt will not only help us understand the effectiveness of the lockdown better but also help us manage it constructively in the future. 

Till now, California has been under strict lockdown making its Rt less than 1.0. However, states like Iowa and Nebraska were loose with restrictions resulting in their Rt to go over 1.0.

Interested to find out more? Download the Jupyter Notebook for further data on Rt and The COVID-Tracking Project.